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NOAA Fisheries FishNews Special Edition - September 19, 2005

Administration Introduces Proposal to Reauthorize Magnuson-Stevens Act; NOAA Fisheries Service to Host National Call on September 20

Today the Administration released a new proposal to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The bill contains key elements to implement the President's 2004 Ocean Action Plan and calls for a hard deadline to end overfishing. "The commercial and recreational fishing industries are vital to the health of our economy," said Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez. "For over 30 years, Magnuson-Stevens has been our guide for wise stewardship of the nation's fisheries resources and helped the U.S. become a world leader in marine science and conservation as a result. The Administration's reauthorization bill builds upon these successes while evolving to meet today's changing needs."

The new bill includes the following provisions:

  • Ensures that fisheries management decisions are based on proven, peer-reviewed scientific information;
  • Encourages fishery managers to use market-based management, such as dedicated access privileges, where appropriate, to make fishing safer and more profitable;
  • Calls for tougher fines and penalties for those who break fisheries laws;
  • Requires an end to overfishing practices;
  • Establishes a national saltwater angler registry to ensure that recreational catches are better counted for scientific assessments and management purposes;
  • Elevates the importance of ecosystem-based management by authorizing the regional fishery management councils to develop ecosystem plans.

Building on the commitment in the U.S. Ocean Action Plan, to promote greater use of market-based systems for fisheries management, Secretary Gutierrez pledged to work with the Fishery Management Councils to double the number of dedicated access privileges programs by 2010. This goal will bring eight new fisheries under market-based management programs. In the eight fisheries where dedicated access privileges have been implemented since 1990, fishermen have enjoyed higher profits, lower costs, longer fishing seasons and a safer, more stable industry.

"Oceans are important to everyone and one of our highest priorities is to create a vibrant well managed fishery system that can provide healthy food and good jobs to Americans for generations to come," said Chairman Jim Connaughton, White House Council on Environmental Quality. "These new tools will help us toward ending overfishing and rebuilding our fish stocks."

For a copy of the new proposal, along with the press release and a section-by-section analysis, please visit: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/msa2005.

Last Friday, Dr. William Hogarth, Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries, conducted briefings on the Administration's bill for Senate Commerce Committee staff and House Resources Committee staff. These two committees have oversight jurisdiction for the Magnuson-Stevens Act. He also held a conference call with the eight Regional Fishery Management Councils to provide them with information prior to the formal release of the bill. Today, Dr. Hogarth will conduct briefings for other interested Congressional staff and participate in media interviews.

On Tuesday, September 20, Dr. Hogarth will host a national conference call to discuss the proposal with fisheries constituents. The conference call will take place at 11:30m EST. The toll-free dial-in number is 888-390-1591 and the passcode is "MSA 2005".

For more information, contact NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service Office of Constituent Services, (301) 713-9501, or via e-mail, Editor.Fishnews@noaa.gov. The FishNews website is available by going to http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov and clicking on the FishNews icon.
 
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